Big Tech Companies Funding University Research Labs… Only If They Promise To Open Source The Results

from the kinda-backwards dept

The state of universities and intellectual property is pretty messy these days. Thanks to the screwed up Bayh-Dole law, many universities feel (wrongly) compelled to patent the research that they produce. This generally goes against their basic charters of sharing the knowledge that they create. It’s also not very profitable. Only a small handful of universities have been able to make money off of patents. Most have lost a ton of money, setting up expensive tech transfer offices that don’t return a dime.

However, in an interesting twist (pointed out by Glyn Moody), it appears that a variety of big tech companies, including Intel, HP and IBM, are now funding research centers on the condition that they open source anything that comes out of them.

Think about that for a second. These institutions of learning, who for decades have been built on education and sharing knowledge, want to lock up ideas. And the private companies, who are more commonly associated with trying to lock up proprietary information, are encouraging greater openness and sharing. That, alone, should show you just how screwed up our patent system is today.

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Companies: hp, ibm, intel

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Comments on “Big Tech Companies Funding University Research Labs… Only If They Promise To Open Source The Results”

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Jose_X (profile) says:

Re: Open trade secrets

That is where I’m putting my money! Seriously.

I also think taxes should largely be voluntary (minus some fraction in the 10 – 20 % range of what you would otherwise owe) if you allow all your assets, significant contracts, income, etc, during the year to be made public information at tax time. This transparency would allow the public to be better shoppers and help preserve self-regulation and fair playing fields instead of what we have now.

Jose_X (profile) says:

I Will Hand Over My IP For Exploitation When They Peel My Cold Dead Fingers From Around It.

A major reason I have not worked in IT (eg, developing software), even part time, has been that I refuse to hand over IP rights to contribute to some firms’ patent, copyright, or trade secret arsenal.

[This isn’t to say that no open source opportunities exist.]

So this is welcomed news.

Anonymous Coward says:

Universities and their staff has spend decades locking up their results, either in direct patents and copyrights, or by the professors opening companies that hold the patents for the commercial side.

Did you just wake up to that?

Heck, your alma mater seems to have paid for at least part of your education on the back of patents and licensing:

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Did you just wake up to that?

Mike’s been saying Bayh-Dole is screwed up for years.

From 2005:

Heck, your alma mater seems to have paid for at least part of your education on the back of patents and licensing:

Maybe it actually made his tuition more expensive, since as stated in the story, most of these programs are losing money. Did you bother reading the story at all?

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